Violence, Crime, and Abuse Exposure in a National Sample of Children and Youth An Update

Crimes Against Children Research Center, University of New Hampshire, Durham, New Hampshire 03824, USA.
PEDIATRICS (Impact Factor: 5.47). 10/2009; 124(5):1411-23. DOI: 10.1542/peds.2009-0467
Source: PubMed


The objective of this research was to obtain national estimates of exposure to the full spectrum of the childhood violence, abuse, and crime victimizations relevant to both clinical practice and public-policy approaches to the problem.
The study was based on a cross-sectional national telephone survey that involved a target sample of 4549 children aged 0 to 17 years.
A clear majority (60.6%) of the children and youth in this nationally representative sample had experienced at least 1 direct or witnessed victimization in the previous year. Almost half (46.3%) had experienced a physical assault in the study year, 1 in 4 (24.6%) had experienced a property offense, 1 in 10 (10.2%) had experienced a form of child maltreatment, 6.1% had experienced a sexual victimization, and more than 1 in 4 (25.3%) had been a witness to violence or experienced another form of indirect victimization in the year, including 9.8% who had witnessed an intrafamily assault. One in 10 (10.2%) had experienced a victimization-related injury. More than one third (38.7%) had been exposed to 2 or more direct victimizations, 10.9% had 5 or more, and 2.4% had 10 or more during the study year.
The scope and diversity of child exposure to victimization is not well recognized. Clinicians and researchers need to inquire about a larger spectrum of victimization types to identify multiply victimized children and tailor prevention and interventions to the full range of threats that children face.

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    • "Approximately 10% of children in the United States are maltreated (Finkelhor et al., 2009) and 66% report a major traumatic event before adulthood (Read et al., 2011). Exposure to trauma during childhood increases the risk for lifelong physical and mental health problems (Chapman et al., 2007; Dube et al., 2003). "
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    ABSTRACT: Studies examining the association between childhood trauma exposure and neuroendocrine functioning have returned inconsistent findings. To date, few studies have accounted for the role exposure to different types of childhood trauma may have on different neuroendocrine adaptations, and no study has examined this association using multiple indices of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA-axis) functioning. The purpose of this study was to characterize the unique associations between exposure to physical abuse, emotional abuse, and non-intentional trauma, and multiple indices of HPA-axis functioning. A community sample of 138 youth (aged 9-16) completed the Socially Evaluated Cold Pressor Task (SE-CPT) while their parents completed the Early Trauma Inventory (ETI). All youth then collected 4 diurnal salivary cortisol samples at home across 2 consecutive weekdays. High reported exposure to non-intentional trauma was associated with intact diurnal regulation but elevated cortisol at bedtime, physical abuse was associated with faster reactivity to acute stress, and emotional abuse was associated with delayed recovery of cortisol following acute stress. Taken together, there was a heterogeneous relationship among different indices of HPA-axis functioning and trauma subtype. Different types of childhood trauma exposure are related to distinct anomalies in HPA-axis functioning. This study underscores the importance of research incorporating multiple indices of HPA-axis functioning to inform our understanding of the underlying neuroendocrine dysregulation that may later lead to stress-related psychopathology. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Psychoneuroendocrinology 02/2015; 54C. DOI:10.1016/j.psyneuen.2015.01.020 · 4.94 Impact Factor
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    • "Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), typically defined as stressful or traumatic life events that occur during the first 18 years of life (such as emotional, physical, or sexual abuse, emotional or physical neglect, or other forms of family dysfunction) are pervasive and significant public health problems [1] [2] [3]. A 2008 nationally representative telephone survey estimated that about 61% of children and youth in the US experience at least one ACE per year [4]. This figure slightly decreased to 57.7% in 2011 [5]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) represent substantial threats to public health and affect about 58% of youth in the US. In addition to their acute effects such as injury and physical trauma, ACEs are associated with an increased risk of several negative health outcomes throughout the life course. Emerging evidence suggests that sleep disorders may be one such outcome, but existing studies have not been systematically reviewed and summarized. We conducted a systematic review to summarize the evidence concerning the relationship between ACEs and sleep disorders and disturbances, with a focus on adult women. Original publications were identified through searches of the electronic databases MEDLINE, Embase, and Web of Science using the keywords "childhood," "adversity," "abuse," and "sleep" as well as searches of the reference lists of eligible studies. Studies evaluating ACEs that occurred before 18 years of age and sleep outcomes that were assessed at 18 years or older were adjudicated and included. A total of 30 publications were identified. Of the 30 studies, 28 were retrospective analyses and there was vast heterogeneity in the types of ACEs and sleep outcomes measured. The majority of retrospective studies (N = 25 of 28) documented statistically significant associations between sleep disorders including sleep apnea, narcolepsy, nightmare distress, sleep paralysis, and psychiatric sleep disorders with a history of childhood adversity. In many studies, the strengths of associations increased with the number and severity of adverse experiences. These associations were corroborated by the two prospective studies published to date. Notably, investigators have documented statistically significant associations between family conflict at 7-15 years of age and insomnia at 18 years of age (odds ratio, OR = 1.4; 95% confidence interval, CI = 1.2-1.7) and between childhood sexual abuse and sleep disturbances 10 years later in adult women (β = 0.24, p <0.05). There is a growing scientific body of knowledge suggesting an association between ACEs and multiple sleep disorders in adulthood. The available evidence indicates the need to develop treatment strategies such as trauma-informed care for survivors of abuse who suffer from sleep disorders and disturbances. Further, longitudinal studies among diverse populations are needed to improve the overall understanding of this association and to investigate potential gender and racial/ethnic disparities in the strength of the association. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
    Sleep Medicine 01/2015; 16(3). DOI:10.1016/j.sleep.2014.12.013 · 3.15 Impact Factor
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    • "This concern stems from research indicating that a large proportion of youth witness violence perpetrated against others or are themselves victims of aggressive attacks at some point during their lives (Finkelhor et al., 2009; Truman, 2011). Among 14–17 year olds, an age group particularly likely to be exposed to violence, the 2007 National Survey of Children's Exposure to Violence indicated that 48% had witnessed violence in the year prior to the survey, 47% had been personally assaulted, and 19% had been injured during an assault (Finkelhor et al., 2009). Research has also shown that exposure to violence can have negative and often severe consequences, impairing social relationships, academic performance, and mental health, and can lead to aggressive and violent behaviors as well (Begle et al., 2011; Buka et al., 2001; Finkelhor et al., 2011; Gorman-Smith and Tolan, 1998; Lynch, 2003; Macmillan, 2001; Schwab-Stone et al., 1995). "
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    ABSTRACT: Adolescent exposure to violence and substance use are both public health problems, but how neighborhood context contributes to these outcomes is unclear. This study uses prospective data from 1,416 adolescents to examine the direct and interacting influences of victimization and neighborhood factors on adolescent substance use. Based on hierarchical Bernoulli regression models that controlled for prior substance use and multiple individual-level factors, exposure to violence significantly increased the likelihood of marijuana use but not alcohol use or binge drinking. There was little evidence that community norms regarding adolescent substance use influenced rates of substance use or moderated the impact of victimization. Community disadvantage did not directly impact substance use, but the relationship between victimization and marijuana use was stronger for those in neighborhoods with greater disadvantage. The results suggest that victimization is particularly likely to affect adolescents’ marijuana use, and that this relationship may be contingent upon neighborhood economic conditions.
    Social Science Research 11/2014; 49. DOI:10.1016/j.ssresearch.2014.08.015 · 1.27 Impact Factor
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